The youth climate movement stands on the frontlines of the battle for the future against a relentless nemesis: corporate greed. Greed serves as the foundation upon which America’s dirty energy infrastructure has been built. Dirty energy, especially oil, has literally driven our planet to its breaking point and the recent proposal to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline will ensure our progression as a broken civilization that will end in shambles. Fortunately, young people across the nation are rejecting this future and rising up to say: “No more.”
I am proud to say that I am a part of this movement. Corporate greed and the Keystone XL pipeline have no place in my future and I will fight for climate justice. I have brought the Keystone XL pipeline fight to my campus at Valparaiso University in Indiana. I am President of a small independent environmental group called “The Movement.” Motivated with a thirst for change, we went around campus to educate students about the pipeline and to collect signatures and photo petitions to gain support and grow our movement.
We encountered everyone from the skeptic to the sympathetic to the supporter. We journeyed to non-existent Obama for America offices and were the recipients of a redundant and cynical questionnaire: Wouldn’t this create more jobs? Shouldn’t this decrease our dependency on foreign oil? Aren’t the tar sands better than conventional oil?
We faced each challenge with determination and did our best to overcome each hurdle. The fight resulted in nearly 200 signatures against the Pipeline. Since no Obama campaign office has been opened in Indiana at this time, we prepared a packet to send to the OFA headquarters in Chicago, due to arrive just before thousands will circle the White House in Washington DC on November 6th.
Building the Keystone XL Pipeline will escalate the effects of climate change and prioritize pollution in America. My generation must not stand for this. We need to demand that President Obama keep his promise to “end the tyranny of oil” and demonstrate real climate leadership by ushering our nation into an era where our energy is clean and our lifestyle is green. This starts with President Obama rejecting the Keystone XL! I cant make the trip, but I strongly encourage you to go to Washington DC on November 6th to circle the White House and tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline!
- Olivia Stemwell is a Campus Coordinator at Valparaiso University